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Director of Education Ministries – November 2021

Update from the Director of Education Ministries -- Amy Grella - 412-801-3723

Godly Play: Investing in the Spiritual Development of our Children

Bower Hill introduced Godly Play in Sunday School for children almost a decade ago. The time that our children spend downstairs during worship is SO much more than learning Bible stories and doing crafts! As our traditional Sunday school format continues to transform into a meaningful worship experience, we are seeking adult volunteers to serve as worship leaders. What is the difference between a Sunday school teacher and a Children’s worship leader? The Rev. Sharon Stewart will lead a training event where we explore this question and learn more about Godly Play. We strongly encourage all adult volunteers who work with our kids as well as parents to attend. This special on-line zoom training will be held on Thursday, October 28 from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Use this zoom link to join. The training will be recorded and shared afterward if you are not able to attend.

Save the Date - Acolyte Training on Sunday, November 28th

An important rite of passage for our tweens and middle schoolers at Bower Hill is serving as acolytes during the worship service. We are happy to plan for the return of this tradition beginning in Advent! Pastor Brian will lead a short (15-20 minute) training in the sanctuary immediately following worship on Sunday, November 28th. This training will be for all new acolytes (3rd graders) as well as any other kids (4th -8th graders) who want to attend for a refresher on what to do. We hope families and youth join us afterward as we Deck the Halls.

Deck the Halls - Sunday, November 28th

Many hands make light work! Please join us immediately following coffee hour on Sunday, November 28th to help prepare the church for advent and Christmas. There will be no second hour classes that day so everyone can help. Childcare will be available in room 110.

Christmas Wreath and Greens Sale

Bower Hill Youth will be selling Christmas wreaths and swags to raise funds for our summer mission trip. The deluxe mixed green wreaths will be made by JB Tree Farms and will contain three or more various fresh greens that are grown on their Alexandria, PA farm: Fraser Fir, Southwestern White Pine, Scotch Pine, Arbor Vitae, Spruce, and Douglas Fir. Multiple wreath sizes and swags will be available for sale after church on Sunday October 24, 31st and November 7th. Wreaths will be available for pickup on Sunday, November 28th. You may also enter your order online. Click here for the order form. Thank you for supporting Bower Hill Youth!

Nativity Wonderland Coming to Fellowship Hall - Saturday, December 4th

There is something wonderful each year as your nativity set is carefully unpacked to display for the holiday season. Nativity sets can invoke cherished memories and instill hope for the advent season ahead. Do you have a nativity with a story to share? In leu of a children’s pageant this year, we are inviting the congregation to share and enjoy a Nativity Wonderland. You will setup your nativity in fellowship hall the morning of Saturday, December 4th for a festive Open House that afternoon from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Cookies and hot chocolate will be served. We will leave the nativity sets up through coffee hour the following day December 5th, and then you can take them home again. Look for more details to join in the fun.

Fall Youth Group Retreats

Registration is open for our two fall retreats for the middle and high school youth groups. We decided this year to sponsor separate retreats for each group. Both retreats are with other churches. The same COVID policy is in place (requiring proof of vaccine or negative COVID test just before the trip), which you will see and read in the registration links below. Please reach out to Amy if you have any questions.

High School Retreat at Crestfield

Dates: Friday, Nov. 12 - Sunday, Nov. 14

Location: Crestfield Camp and Conference Center

Partnering with: Sunset Hills United Presbyterian

Chaperones: Amy Grella, Jeremiah Wagner

Cost: $90, includes all meals (all 3 on Saturday, and breakfast on Sunday) - catered by Crestfield.

Middle School Retreat at Ligonier

Dates: Friday, Nov. 19 - Sunday, Nov. 21

Location: Ligonier Camp and Conference Center

Partnering with: Hiland, Northmont, Tarentum, Wexford, Ben Avon, and Crossroads

Chaperones: Amy Grella, Chad Johnson (Hiland's youth director)

Cost: $90, includes all meals (all 3 on Saturday, and breakfast on Sunday) - provided by Ligonier, and a t-shirt.

Registration deadline (for t-shirt order): October 28th Registrations after that will not include a t-shirt.

November Youth Group Activities

New groups for kids and youth from 3rd through 12th grade have formed. There are separate youth group options for the following three age groups: 3rd-5th grades (aka our tweens), middle school, high school. Led by Miss Amy and other volunteers, these groups will meet once a month on Sunday evenings. As the weather is turning cooler, meetings will be held indoors in room 110 adjacent to the playground. Because each group is only meeting once a month, it is vital that you make every effort to have your child participate during their appropriate night, so we have enough kids to make it meaningful. Kids are welcome to bring friends or neighbors to join us.

Tweens (3rd- 5th grades) meetups at the church

November 7th - 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

December 5th - 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Middle School (6th- 8th grades) meetups

November 14th - 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. at the church

November 19-21 - Middle School Retreat at Camp Ligonier

December 12th - 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. - White Elephant Christmas Party combined with senior high

High School (9th- 12th grades) meetups

November 12-14 - High School Retreat at Crestfield

November 21st - 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. at the church

December 12th - 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. - White Elephant Christmas Party combined with junior high

Fall Sunday Morning Options for Children, Youth and Families

In-person options continue for all ages. Our nursery is open for babies and toddlers during worship. During second hour, childcare will be provided in room 110. Please look below for details on the plan by each age group. Complete COVID safety procedures can be found on the church website under the Children & Youth tab. In general, masks are required for everyone 3 years and older who are working with children, and we practice social distancing during seated activities.

Children’s Worship (Preschool - 2nd grade)

Children preschool (potty trained) up to second grade will start in worship with their families. After the Children’s Sermon, kids will be escorted downstairs to room 103, our Children’s Worship Space. Children will have their very own worship experience using Godly Play, learning Bible stories through seeing, hearing, and hands-on activities. Parents may pick up their children in the classroom after worship ends.

Tweens (3rd - 5th grade)

The 3rd – 5th graders will meet during worship in our newly refreshed room 105 using the Sparkhouse Holy Moly curriculum. This class begins at 9:30 a.m. so kids should go directly to room 105 on Sunday morning. Parents may pick up their children in the classroom after worship ends.

Middle & High School (6th - 12th grade) with parents - New 2nd hour option

Older youth in 6th - 12th grades are invited to remain in worship at 9:30 with their families and join us for Journey Together, a new second hour option for families to do together with their youth in grades six through twelve and led by Amy Grella. It is a series of planned activities focused on exploring the Bible, the Spirit, being Disciples, our Church, and our World. It is NOT a straight Bible study. Think of it to experience spiritual growth through engaging, fun activities. The class is now meeting in room 105 at 11:00 a.m. Childcare is available in room 110 during this time.


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